Everyone wants a good life. Sometimes, we might have varying definitions about what constitutes a good life. God’s word will always help us clarify that, if we read it with an open mind and heart.
I read through the entire Bible in 2021. I’m not saying this to brag. I couldn’t tell you what I read in many of the books, but I’m still grateful to have done it.
This isn’t the first time. I’ve done it at least three other times, and the last time I did it, I had a notebook that I scrawled down questions and thoughts as I was reading. If I knew where that thing was, I’d read through it to see if I have the answers now.
This time, I had a notebook to jot down ideas for writing projects: this blog, Sunday school lessons, other Bible studies or even another biblical fiction story.
Micah is one of the small books toward the end of the Old Testament. I read it in December. That’s when I saw the verse that inspired today’s post.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?Micah 6:8
The first thing this verse reminded me was that only God can show me what is good and can define how to have a good life. And he did. With three simple steps.
Step One: Do Justly
First off, let’s get a clear sense of what justly means. According to dictionary.com, justly means “done in a manner guided by truth, reason, justice and fairness.”
It makes me a bit embarrassed to admit that this definition might not mean much. Truth is subjective in our world. Reason is left up to every man. And what’s fair? In a world where injustice abounds, it’s difficult to spot justice.
“Thy Word is truth,” Jesus prayed in John 17. There’s not subjectivity on the definition of truth in God’s universe.
One way to have a good life is do act as guided by God’s Word and reason with an aim to be fair to everyone.
Step Two: Love Mercy
We love mercy when we need it, don’t we? I mess up and run to God for forgiveness and beg him to withhold consequences.
That’s mercy: when we don’t get what we deserve.
Sin has consequences. Adam and Eve learned the ultimate consequence was death.
If we love mercy, it means we’re merciful to others.
Someone wrongs me. Do I immediately get angry? Start plotting how to get back at them? Tell everyone I know about how horrible this person is?
Three strikes if the answer is yes to those questions.
What would I want someone to do if I was the one who hurt their feelings?
Pausing to check our impulses is the best idea. When we don’t act out our anger and hurt, we demonstrate a love for mercy.
Step Three: Walk Humbly with God
Ah, humility. This is another one of those undervalued character traits in modern society.
The world says meek is weak. And we buy into that mentality.
But God admires humility. Jesus modeled it during his life on Earth, and his example demands the same from us.
What does it mean to walk with God? I’m always reminded of the verse in Genesis about Enoch walking with God.
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.Genesis 5:24
I get a clear vision of him strolling along a path with God beside him. They’re having a grand conversation.
But that’s not what it looks like in our world. God is an invisible spirit inside us, so he is always with us. But to walk with him means staying on the path of righteousness. Making the choices he wants us to make and being mindful of his will for us every minute of every day.
Yeah, I don’t do it. Not like that. I need help with all these steps but this last one stumps me. Not the humility part as much as staying next to the Lord all the time and going where he leads.
Did I say the steps to having a good life would be easy? I don’t think I did.
But God says we will have a good life if we do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with him.